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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 20, 2015, 08:20:07 am »
If you are locked into the date, maybe you need to just hope for the best weather wise.  On the other hand you could consider a slightly different locale.  Maybe you could start farther south and continue on to some of the Baja peninsula, or possibly ride some of the Southern Tier?  You could consider making the call at the last minute depending on what the weather report looks like.

In any case I hope you have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Primitive Camping on Pacific Coast Route
« on: February 19, 2015, 05:48:50 pm »
The hiker biker sites in the state parks are already pretty cheap ($4-8 for most of them).  They also are nice because you can usually fall in with a group of folks on the same pace and camp with them every night.

Given your March start you may not meet many others though.  Also the parks may not be open yet.  Also I have heard that March is likely to be very wet on the coast and bad weather can bring strong winds out of the south.  Then there are mudslides.  You are fairly likely to have some issues with road work or road closure that time of year.

You can probably stealth camp but hiding in the rain in the middle of nowhere doesn't sound fun to me.  Can you possibly go later in the season?

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 18, 2015, 07:41:54 pm »
For touring I would strongly recommend the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.

I'd only agree if avoiding flats at all costs trumps everything else.  If you care about weight at all or ride feel I'd pass on the Marathon Plus.  We are not talking a little bit heavier or a little stiffer sidewall.  The Plus weighs more than twice as much as many other suitable touring tires and the sidewalls are super stiff.  Supple sidewalls have less rolling resistance and a better ride.

Personally I like Continental Gatorskins pretty well.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 09, 2015, 07:02:18 am »
I got curious about this and did a google search.  I found that there were more places with minimum stay requirements than I would have thought.  It looks like many are for holiday weekends only and others are for weekends only.  Maybe you can just avoid that type of campground on the weekends.  Probably worst case, but I guess you could pay for the minimum stay and leave early.

On most long tours, it shouldn't be too hard to just plan around staying in those places on the weekends.  I know that I have toured across the country a couple times and done some other long tours and never once run into that problem.  I guess that especially for weekend tours in a specific locale the choices might be more limited.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 08, 2015, 07:24:21 pm »
I'd say you're looking in the wrong places.
Or at least way different places than where I typically tour.  I am curious where that is a problem and at what kind of campgrounds.

General Discussion / Re: Question About Minimum Stay Requirements
« on: February 08, 2015, 10:06:26 am »
My wife and I are planning a tour and we're running into minimum stay requirements at some campgrounds. What has your experience been dealing with them? Do you find that most people are flexible when it comes to folks who are just passing through and need a place for the night? Do you have any tips and/or tricks for reserving for less than the minimum stay?

I guess it must depend on the locale and the type of places you stay, but I have never been told I had to stay a minimum stay.  I usually stay in places like town parks and so on, but do stop at the occasional campground.  What part of the country are you touring in? Most of the places I have toured are either usually fairly easy to camp for free or have hiker biker sites.

Gear Talk / Re: Too tight spokes causes wheel buckling.
« on: February 06, 2015, 10:23:22 am »
It's true but I have several spokes at close to zero tension with the rest being too tight. Generally I allow this for front wheels but not for the back.

I am tend to be one to run things until they break, but I'd probably replace a rim that is in that condition if I couldn't get it true with at least somewhat even tension.  If on tour, I'd probably wait until back home though.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: February 05, 2015, 10:20:32 am »
It may have helped that Don had experienced the western half of the trip on a bike before his accident.

I'd think that it is likely to be a pretty different thing for a cyclist on the disabled list driving or for a non cyclist being recruited to drive.  It seems like it would be just way less likely to stress the relationship and the driver way less likely to wind up unhappy and or bored and maybe even resentful or bitter.

General Discussion / Re: How picky are you?
« on: February 05, 2015, 07:25:39 am »
Any component which I suspect may not last the distance is replaced and put aside for local use.

I have done that to some extent, but have found a few problems with it at least for my personal situation.  First, on tours longer than some length you can't plan on everything lasting the whole way. And second, I found that for me stuff that came off when partially worn out never got used again and things like tires with a couple thousand miles of wear left in them would wind up going to waste, hanging in the shop for years until dry rotted.

It probably doesn't help that I don't ride all that much at home and generally do long tours.  So for me it seems to make more sense to just replace things as needed whether at home or on tour.

That said if something is really close to end of life I would probably replace it before a long tour.  For example, I wouldn't hesitate to start a coast to coast tour with tires that will make it half way but would probably replace them if they looked like they had less than a thousand miles left in them or were getting an excessive number of flats.

I have fitted inline cable adjusters near the shifters so I can fine-tune shifting as I ride.

I have bosses on the frame that have adjusters on some of my bikes and probably should add inline adjusters on the ones that don't.  I find the ones on the frame to be easier to adjust with one hand while riding, so I prefer those when available.

General Discussion / Re: Traveling the Transam Supported by RV
« on: January 31, 2015, 12:55:17 pm »
Having met a few folks doing that I will comment on a couple things.

First expect to stop lots of places with no RV park.  I think you will find there will very often be no official RV sites.  In most small rural towns just parking it somewhere will work fine.  A couple that befriended us on the TA did that a lot.

Second, be aware of the disadvantages which can be significant.  You may be less welcome to stop in a lot of places hiker biker sites will be off limits.  You will meet fewer cyclists.  As soon as a motor vehicle is involved the trip changes pretty significantly.  The wives driving support that I have met were often pretty miserable and wound up harboring a fair amount of resentment.  She needs to expect a lot more boredom that you might normally think.  There will be a lot of days spent in the middle of nowhere in tiny towns where she will likely be all day with not much human contact and way too much time on her hands.

My observations of folks with a wife driving support made me WAY less likely to ever consider it myself for a long tour.

Routes / Re: Jacksonville FL to New Orleans...
« on: January 28, 2015, 04:08:22 pm »
I read somewhere else here that 20 was flatter and quieter, neither of which I have a problem with!

Yeah, I have heard that some folks prefer 20.  Regardless which way you go, have a great trip.

Routes / Re: Jacksonville FL to New Orleans...
« on: January 28, 2015, 03:49:30 pm »
US 90 would probably be my choice for that section based on what I have seen of it and the other choices.  For this section that opinion is based on having driven most of it in a car as I have not ridden most of that section.

Different area, but I rode the ST from San Diego to Pensacola and used US 90 more than AC recommended,  I think that I'd consider using it for it's entire length (Van Horn TX to Jacksonville FL) if riding the ST again.

General Discussion / Re: folders
« on: January 28, 2015, 03:33:35 pm »
Are we talking about a bent or an upright bike?  I'll limit my comments to upright bikes since that is what I know.

For a car trip I see pretty much zero advantage to a folder.  A rack outside of the car makes more sense IMO.  I like roof racks, but there are other choices that can work too.  Even for shipping a bike to a tour or checking one as baggage I don't see any real advantage to a folder unless it fits in a standard checked bag size (l x h x w<= 62").

Most folders are not the best bikes.  I have a Dahon Helios and wouldn't dream of touring on it.  It is OK for short errands or to have in the deck locker of a small boat, but it really isn't that nice to ride.  The two biggest problems are that:
  • It is hard to set them up to an efficient riding position
  • They can be really noodley with the tall masts for seat post and stem.

The Bike Friday is reportedly better on both counts though.  Still it doesn't sound to me as if a folder suits your needs.

If you are thinking of a folding bent, I have no idea.

If possible, I prefer to know where I'm going to end the day before I get there, or at least know the possibilities. If I have no idea where I might spend the night, the anxiety is a bit uncomfortable. It always works out, but it makes me a bit uneasy.

Everybody is different.  I like having an idea of what the options are at least to the extent of knowing how far the next few towns are, but I really prefer not to commit to where I will stop, because I never know if I will feel like stopping at 40 miles, 140 miles, or something in between.  For me the flexibility that offers is liberating.  OTOH it makes it pretty much impossible for me to stay with hosts who typically want a little notice.

Has anyone taken the risk of not knowing where you are going to camp for the day?  Any ideas that have worked well?

I seldom plan ahead for where I will camp.  Where I stay varies depending on what part of the country you are in and how rural/small town it is.  It is typically easier to impromptu camp if you are away from either coast.  It is also usually easier in rural or small town settings.

For town parks... 
If the town is large enough to have cops, I usually ask first.  If the town is small enough I might ask the clerk at the general store if they think anyone will bother me if I pitch a tent in the park for the night.  Sometimes I don't ask and just set up.  I usually try to set up early enough that if I get run off I still have time to find somewhere else, but in practice I have never actually been run off.

Churches...  I usually ask first.

Outside or behind businesses or fire houses I usually ask first.

In places like rural Texas, roadside picnic areas work well.  I suspect that cowboy camping or using a bivy is less likely to get you run off than using a tent.

I am not big on stealth camping but in a pinch will just find a spot I won't be seen.

You get good at knowing what will work and what won't with experience.  I found that doing my first tour on an Adventure cycling route (Trans America) was helpful in learning what was likely to work with less worry since they listed a lot pf places to stay on the maps.

I find that opening with "I am riding from _____ to _____ and..." opens a lot of doors.  It probably won't work well if ______ and _____ aren't pretty far apart, but for a multi week or multi month tour its seems to.

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